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Doubts over acupuncture, Osborne ‘cooks’ the NHS books and why visiting the dentist is not just a pain in the tooth

By Nigel Praities

Our roundup of the health news headlines on Friday 25 March.

The newspapers are still full of analysis of the Budget, with The Mirror accusing the Government of breaking election pledges on protecting the NHS budget from cuts.

A report from the Institute for Fiscal Studies says NHS spending was above zero, but due to inflationary pressures it was ‘sailing very close to the wind'. That does not stop the newspaper from accusing George Osborne of ‘cooking the books' over the pledge and winter fuel payments for the elderly.

We are also tightening our own spending committments, according to the Daily Mail l today. One in five of us put off vital dental check-ups and treatment because the cost is too high. Patients pay £204 for the most complex treatments and £17 for a check-up – compared with just £6 in 2005 – the newspaper reveals. Ouch - that is inflation for you.

The Scotsman covers a study by Pulse's very own blogger Professor Edzard Ernst. The study shows little ‘truly convincing evidence' that acupuncture is better than sham placebo treatments at controlling pain and may even be harmful.

And lastly, The Telegraph is taking NICE to task over its osteoporosis guidance, after a new study showing that the drug strontium ranelate was 17 times more effective at boosting bone formation compared with alendronate. The newspaper claims the institute's guidance ‘denies millions' the opportunity to take the better drug.

Spotted a story we've missed? Let us know in the comments and we'll update the digest throughout the day...

Daily Digest

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